Three Great Artists Reflecting on the Spiritual Purpose of Art. A Study of Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, Keller’s Der Grune Heinrich, and Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus

Author: Potter, Martin
Year:2009
Pages:320
ISBN:0-7734-3854-8
978-0-7734-3854-5
Price:219.95
The only study to focus on these three novels. The argument departs from previous scholarship by emphasizing the ambivalence and even, to some extent, hostility, evinced by each of the authors to aspects of modern social conditions, and by examining their discontents in detail. Also shows a portrayal by the authors of a gradual increase in the tensions they detect in social and artistic conditions during the modern period.

Reviews

“Potter shows that the inwardness of these three novels’ sustained discussion of the purposes of art is not a privileged enclave insulated from the quotidian cares of society; rather, it generates a profound and acute diagnosis of the values, the mindset, the mentality of a culture at a specific juncture of change and development. Time and again Potter suggests that, in the realm of art as these three novels understand it, old values and new energies collide, and in that collision define each other. The upshot is a reading of three major novels which argues that, in ways that have too long gone imperfectly comprehended; these novels explore, contest, and also (most importantly) count the cost of emergent modernity.” – Prof. Martin Swales, University College London

Table of Contents

Foreword by Martin Swales
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre
Introduction
Society
The Educational Project
The Role of Women
The Quest for Balance
Social Aims
Art
Conclusion
2. Keller’s Der Grüne Heinrich
Introduction
Politics
Religion
Class
Education
Economics
Urban and Rural Life
Art
Psychology
3. Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus
Introduction
Representative Characters
Music
The Devil
Music Again
Theology
Society
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index